This month’s FYA Book Club selection is The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes. Check out the discussion questions below! (Slight spoilers ahead.)

P.S. If you’ve already read the book, feel free to add any other discussion questions of your own in the comments!

Content Warning

Include if applicable.


Were you a Breakfast Club stereotype in high school? If so, which one? Who in your book club would you have been friends with back then, and who wouldn’t you have been friends with?


1. On the Bray-McCafferty Scale of High School Realism, 1 being “I just crashed on a desert island with a bunch of eccentric but lovable caricatures” and 10 being “OMG I am having PTSD flashbacks about high school reading this, only there was never a ginger-dreaded MLD loitering around my homeroom,” where does The Princesses of Iowa fall?

2. Did you find Paige to be a relatable character? How did your own high school experience inform whether or not you found her perspective plausible?

3. True or false: Jacque Sheridan is an unredeemable monster.

4. How did you feel about the use of the free-writing as a narrative device? What about Backes’ writing style overall?

5. A recurring theme in Princesses of Iowa is the disconnect between your perception of yourself and how others perceive you. We experience this phenomenon most through Paige’s eyes but also see fragments of it for others, especially Ethan, Mirror/Miranda, and Nikki. What do you the other, less-likable characters have going on behind their perceived facade? Is Jake Austin more than a date-rapey, homophobic jock?

6. What did you think of the Mr. Tremont Situation? It is heartbreaking, for sure, but does the ultimate outcome offer you more hope or fear for the future?

This post was written by a guest writer or former contributor for Forever Young Adult.